How I Remember Sunder
–Prabha (Prabha Appasamy)
Sometimes, when I am in the back seat of the car, being driven around by Jagdish, an image of Sunder unexpectedly pops up … opening the door to him on his many visits to Madras, him pointing out to everybody at the dining table how much pickle I have taken, striding ahead with the guide and bombarding him with questions on our trips abroad, gleefully announcing to us when he played host that he had a treat for us, seeing him off early morning by car to Bangalore, and my eyes prick with tears at the realization that he’s no longer with us. Simultaneously there is the thought, ‘My God, what will Raji do without him?’
He loved after-dinner desserts, but would always start off with an insincere ‘Why do you have to go through all this trouble I say?’,… and help himself to a small portion. Very soon he would be sheepishly asking for a second helping, saying that he really shouldn’t be eating so much. We would laugh and tell him that we wouldn’t tell Raji (as though she didn’t know!) This scenario has been played out so many times over the years … it is sad that it is not going to be played out anymore.
Sunder often took Raji’s brothers and their wives for granted. He could be concerned, boorish, attentive, churlish, charming, off-hand, naughty, loving a good gossip, and had an easy acceptance of us as family. He was of our generation, one of us, as Suja put it, in fact we are the ones who joined him as co-sisters-in-law. He would laugh and joke with a lot of affection, and say, ‘We are married into a crazy family, you know.’
It is said that the living close their ranks; but in Sunder’s case this may not be true. He will be there, centre-stage, especially for Raji and Kaushik, for a long, long time to come.
[Prabha is my sister-in-law, my brother Babu/Subbu’s wife. Sunder never failed to visit them on his trips to Madras. His last days, before he went into hospital, were spent in their house, under Prabha’s loving care; as also his funeral.]